Considering the continued high rate of youth suicide, it is critical that prevention programs be utilized as effectively as possible. Many different programs have been tried and no single approach has been proven to be best. Since there are so many dimensions to the problem of youth suicide, a combination of strategies should be employed. Three levels of prevention will be discussed here. Each level presents opportunities for involvement by the family, the educational system, and the community.
The first of these levels is primary prevention. Primary prevention is aimed at strategies that develop coping skills before suicidal behaviors occur. Programs that teach awareness of the problem are included at this level of prevention. Means restriction is another method of primary prevention. Intervention, the second prevention level, requires recognition, assessment, and management of those at risk. When these strategies have failed to prevent a suicide, those left behind need support. Family and friends may themselves be at increased risk of suicide. Intervention after a suicide, the fourth level, is critical.